PM swings into action, unveils 10-point plan

PM swings into action, unveils 10-point plan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday listed 10-point priority areas to improve governance and to meet the high expectations of the electorate.

Focus on economy and infrastructure tops the prime minister’s priority list. Modi wants all Cabinet ministers to prepare their own timetable listing their priorities for the first 100 days.

The emphasis seems to be on restoring confidence in the bureaucracy — which had taken a hit with big-ticket scams during the UPA regime. Result-oriented performance and innovative ideas will be welcomed to improve governance.

Confirming Modi’s plan of action, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters, “The Prime Minister has issued guidelines to ministers at the Cabinet meeting... He asked them to set a timetable for the first 100 days, listing the priorities.”

Modi has also asked his ministers to concentrate on the task ahead, following the controversy that erupted after Minister of State in the prime minister’s office (PMO), Jitendra Singh’s statement on Article 370.

The prime minister reportedly told them not to speak out of turn on sensitive issues in public. Such issues should be raised only in the Cabinet and within party circles, sources within the BJP quoted him as saying.

The agenda begins with “Focus on economy and infrastructure ministries” as industrial production has been dealt a blow, inflation is eating into people’s habit of saving and investing and public finance is in a mess.

Government sources said a sector-specific approach will be taken to deal with infrastructure, where we are far behind China.

For instance, in the coal sector, efforts will be made to restructure Coal India, the world’s largest coal producer that rarely meets output targets. In the road sector, there have been complaints of interference by the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission.

The automobile industry is reeling under a paucity of demand, owing to inflation and a sluggish economy, resulting in loss of jobs in this sector. The Indian automobile industry employs around 19 million direct and indirect workers.

It was estimated that this number would rise to over 25 million by 2016 under the 10-year Auto Mission Plan of the government. Efforts will be made to generate demand and increase sales in order to bridge the huge employment gap, sources said.

In addition, rising demand for energy has led to a crisis in the oil and gas sector. The country depends on crude oil imports to meet more than 77 per cent of its requirement for petroleum products.

The shortage of energy has particularly hit the manufacturing sector whose contribution to the GDP is on a decline from the current 15 per cent.

India Inc has hailed the agenda, with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry saying reforms in infrastructure and investment would make India an attractive destination, while also improving its international competitiveness.

Modi has also directed Cabinet ministers to allocate “proper” work to their Ministers of State so that they feel involved in the process.

The prime minister has emphasised that efficient governance, delivery and implementation of schemes and programmes are the “most important” tasks, said Naidu.

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